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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

August 8, 2014, 1:38 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief
  • Stocks are moving higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street as investors weigh productivity gains in the U.S. against escalating geopolitical troubles in Ukraine, Gaza and Iraq. Investors are also buying up U.S. government bonds, a refuge in troubled times.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration is prohibiting U.S. airlines and other commercial carriers from flying over Iraq as the U.S. launched airstrikes in northern Iraq. The ban applies to all U.S.-registered planes except those operated by foreign carriers and to FAA-licensed pilots. Other airlines, including Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, have canceled flights to and from the northern Iraqi city of Irbil.
  • A Chinese court has sentenced a Briton and an American to prison on charges of illegally trading in the personal details of Chinese citizens. The married couple, Peter Humphrey and Yingzeng Yu, operated a firm in Shanghai that helped companies screen potential business partners and employees. They testified that they bought the information to help companies combat fraud.
  • The customer-owned electric utility serving Southern California's Imperial Valley will pay a $12 million civil penalty in a vast power outage three years ago. U-T San Diego reports that under a settlement announced by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Imperial Irrigation District will pay $3 million to the U.S. Treasury and invest an additional $9 million in upgrades to the local electrical grid.
  • The U.S. could be looking at record corn and soybean harvests after a mild summer across much of the nation's heartland. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has already has predicted a record soybean crop of 3.8 billion bushels.  It said in July that the corn crop would be large but not bigger than last year's record of 13.9 billion bushels. However, many market analysts expect the USDA to revise expectations upward in a report due out Tuesday.

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